Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Encounters of the Weird Kind - Indian Currency

Travel - the best way of learning about this big bad world and its ways. Sharing with readers a "weird" experience that I had recently.

City - Bangkok. 
It was evening time and we were passing time in one of the shopping malls in the main market. While walking around a man stops us. He is accompanied by a lady and a kid. What follows is a pretty weird conversation.
Him: "Excuse me"
Me: "Yes"
Him: "Which place are you from"
Me: "India" [no alarms here]
Him: "Which part of India?"
Me: "Mumbai" [no alarm bells yet]
Him: "I am from Dubai.And would be visiting Mumbai soon. Can you tell me where I can buy sarees from?"
Me: [slightly confused but] "there are many such shops all over Mumbai"
Him: "Ok. What currency you use in India?"
Me: "Rupees" [now am curious on the way the conversation is steering]
Him: "So is it like the Pakistani Rupee or different?"
Me: "It is different" [Confusion deepens]
Him: "Can I see the currency?"
Me: "Don't have any at the moment" [which was the truth as only Thai Baht present at that time. But now alarm bells have started ringing]
Him: "Please check you may have some"
Me: [Slightly perturbed now]: "No i don't" [And am not going to take out my wallet here in front of you]
Him: "You must be having some. My friend told me that I needed to get dollars stamped to convert them to rupees and thats why I wanted to look at the currency"
Me: "I don't think so" [Now alarm bells became sirens]
Him: "I want to see the rupees"
Me: "Well I don't have any" [Situation becoming increasingly uncomfortable]
Him: "Its Ok & Thanks"
Me: "OK"
End of conversation. All this while neither the lady nor the kid said a word. And then both parties walked away. We tried to disappear as fast as possible from there.

Maybe it was nothing. Maybe it was just genuine curiosity on his part. Or maybe it was some scam which I managed to successfully avoid.
But I certainly was left perturbed by this almost desperation to see Indian Rupees in a foreign country.

Anyone else with a similar story?